Welcome to Plumi 4.5

Plumi 4.5 was soft-launched at the beginning of the year. Now that it’s been running smoothly for a while, we’d love to introduce you to all the new features and improvements.

New User Interface

demo-screenshot-thumb

The first thing you’ll notice about Plumi 4.5 is the beautiful new skin. We’ve left the old layout inherited from older versions of Plone behind. Right out of the box you will be pleased to see a shiny new visual theme, with a grid-layout and contemporary styling, just right for a video sharing site.

On the front page of the new Plumi skin you can view all the latest videos that have been uploaded, plus feature a video in the slot on top, ready to play back using mediaelement.js player – an HTML5 player that will work in any modern browser. We’re re-worked templates throughout the site, making improvements to UI, with more planned for the future.

Diazo

You can also customise Plumi’s visual theme for your own needs, and in Plumi 4.5 it is easier using a new implementation of the Diazo theming engine and plone.app theming. Diazo allows you to apply a theme contained in a static HTML web page to a dynamic website created using any server-side technology. With Diazo, you can take an HTML wireframe created by a web designer and turn it into a theme for Plumi.

Mobile Friendly Adaptive Layout

The site is designed to adapt to different screen sizes, and videos will play back on both Android and iOS devices.

New Video Publishing Form

publishA new video publishing form makes it even easier for users to upload video to a Plumi site. Just drag’n’drop or click browse to select a video file, and watch it upload in the new progress indicator, while you add metadata to your video.

You can click over to another dynamically loaded page as you upload, where you can categorise the film and add a Creative Commons license.

Subtitling Using Amara

We have integrated Amara (formerly Universal Subtitles) which allows users of your Plumi site to easily add or view subtitles for each video, created or attached to the video using the Amara system. Watch the video above to learn more about how easy it is to use Amara, which is a powerful addition to Plumi in terms of accessibility, and use in multi-lingual websites.

Other Improvements

Other fixes and improvements since our last stable release (Plumi 4.4) include replacing gunicorn with uwsgi, making upload of large files more stable, removing views/downloads from the <iframe>, fixing fullscreen video playback, removal of the obsolete callouts content type, and updating mediaelement.js.

Plumi Roadmap

We are looking forward to a 4.5.1 release that may include some more work on templates, followed by 4.6 in which we plan to integrate videos that are hosted on other sites, and new features designed to enhance the ability to use Plumi for social change impact.

You can read the full list of Plumi features here.

 

Plumi is Critical for the Commons

Via Unweb.me

We are excited to write about www.criticalcommons.org going live after smooth cooperation between Anna Helme, Steve Anderson, Erik Loyer and Unweb.me. The new version adds significant improvements to the overall functionality and stability of the site, plus allows easy uploading of media files and commentaries.

criticalcommons.org main page

Critical commons is a video site built on Plumi. It is a collaborative online teaching tool for cinema studies, and a project designed to push the boundaries of fair use in an educational context.

Critical Commons was initiated by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts Institute for Multimedia Literacy, and was officially launched in 2009 at the Digital Media and Learning and Open Video Alliance conferences. It was originally built by EngageMedia and Infinite Recursion on an earlier version of Plumi.

Functionality

On Critical Commons an educator can upload clips, attach commentaries and build lectures based on these clips. Other users can add commentaries to existing clips throughout the library. Clips can be embedded in other websites and, at the same time, it serves as a media repository forScalar, an open-source media-rich scholarly publishing platform.

criticalcommons.org browse media page

criticalcommons.org media view page

Features

New features include the following:

  • easier registration for advanced users (users fill in the form and admins get informed to approve the application),
  • easier addition of media files (video, image, audio), commentaries and lectures,
  • addition of genres and browsing through genres, for media files,
  • improved search functionality,
  • all features of Plone 4.x, that make it faster, more stable and lightweight, with improved UX etc,
  • the features of Plumi 4.x, for example the mediaelementjs HTML 5 video player with Flash fallback and the new transcoding daemon of Plumi.

 

criticalcommons.org search page

criticalcommons.org upload media page

Migration approach

The previous Critical Commons website was built on Plone 2.5 and a heavily customized fork of Plumi 0.2. We reimplemented all the customizations on top of the latest versions of Plone and Plumi in the form of two seperate open source components for Plumi 4.x, one for the content (criticalcommons.content) and the other for the skin (criticalcommons.skin)

Our goal has been to keep existing functionality, improve user experience, make one site viewable on desktops, laptops and mobile devices and migrate all previously published content. We exported all content from the old site in JSON format and then imported it on the new site.

Code

The code has been released in the following two packages:

Critical Commons Skin: https://github.com/plumi/criticalcommons.skin

Critical Commons Content: https://github.com/plumi/criticalcommons.content

Plumi also benefited from this. We made improvements to the transcode daemon, tested Plumi on mobile devices and committed code that will be contained in the upcoming Plumi 4.5 release.

Further plans

Future plans for development include the addition of user channels, better integration with social media and use of Popcorn.js to enable time-based interactive media.

We would like to thank Steve Anderson and Critical Commons for giving us the chance to participate on such an interesting and inspiring project.

Critical Commons Plumi Sprint

We are following up our sprint in Athens on the new EngageMedia.org skin with another sprint, this time for Critical Commons, a video site built using Plumi that is a collaborative online teaching tool for cinema studies, and a project designed to push the boundaries of fair use in an educational context.

On Critical Commons an educator can upload clips, attach commentaries and build lectures based on these clips. Other users can add commentaries to existing clips throughout the library. Clips can be embedded on other websites, and the site also forms a media repository for the Scalar open-source media-rich scholarly publishing platform.

Critical Commons is a non-profit advocacy coalition that supports the use of media for scholarship, research and teaching, providing resources, information and tools for scholars, students, educators and creators. Critical Commons also functions as a showcase for innovative forms of electronic scholarship and creative production that are transformative, culturally enriching and both legally and ethically defensible. At the heart of Critical Commons is an online tool for viewing, tagging, sharing, annotating and curating media within the guidelines established by a given community. (www.criticalcommons.org)

Critical Commons was initiated by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts Institute for Multimedia Literacy, and was officially launched in 2009 at the Digital Media and Learning and Open Video Alliance conferences. It was originally built by EngageMedia and Infinite Recursion on an earlier version of the Plumi free software video platform.

Currently I’m working here in Athens with Unweb, in collaboration with Steve Anderson and Erik Loyer from Critical Commons, to produce a new version of the website based on the latest version of Plumi. Code we develop will be available on the Plumi GitHub repository.